Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Tennis-Kosovo Olympic Committee seeks IOC disciplinary proceedings against Djokovic

PARIS (Reuters) – Kosovo Olympic authorities have asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open disciplinary proceedings against Novak Djokovic, accusing the Serbian of stirring up political tension by saying “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” at the French Open.

Djokovic wrote the message on a camera lens following his first-round win on Monday, the same day that 30 NATO peacekeeping troops were hurt in clashes with Serb protesters in the Kosovo town of Zvecan – where Djokovic’s father grew up.

Serbian authorities said 52 protesters were wounded in the clashes. The violence erupted after ethnic Albanian mayors took office in northern Kosovo’s Serb-majority area following elections that were boycotted by the Serbs.

The world number three later said he was against any kind of conflict but defended his statement and described Kosovo’s situation as a “precedent”.

“Novak Djokovic has yet again promoted the Serbian nationalists’ propaganda and used the sport platform to do so,” Ismet Krasniqi, president of Kosovo’s Olympic Committee (KOK), said in a statement.

“The further post-match statements made by such a public figure without any feeling of remorse, directly result in raising the level of tension and violence between the two countries,” he added, urging the IOC to investigate “by opening disciplinary proceedings against the athlete.”

The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Tuesday, Kosovo’s tennis federation said Djokovic’s comments were “regrettable”, accusing him of using his status as a well-known personality to stir tensions.

NATO, which has some 4,000 soldiers currently in Kosovo, will send 700 extra troops to curb violence and put another battalion on high alert as unrest has intensified.

Djokovic, who is chasing a record 23rd Grand Slam title, is set to play his second-round match later on Wednesday against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru and Karolos Grohmann in Paris; Editing by Helen Popper)


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